Do It Yourself

Advanced Geometry

After a brief hiatus, FOLKLORE is back on the grid and ready to craft in the Windy City. So… let’s get to it!

If you recall, I made a simple triangle bag back in January and it was instant love. With a fold here and a seam there, I turned a single piece of fabric into a large, utilitarian bag that was perfect for toting around my belongings. Loved my creation so much that I decided to sew another one before we moved in March. This time around, I made things a little more complicated.

Pattern Side 1Et voila! Advanced Geometry, if you will.

In an effort to use up some of my fabric stash before the big move, I created a patchwork of springy prints and paired it with a delicate cream and denim floral to tie it all together. It’s a really sturdy piece and totally reversible – bonus points! I can’t wait to take this bag out for chilly mornings at farmers’ markets and sunny afternoons spent thrift shopping.Pattern Side 2

Why, those are some nice seams! I have to say, those sun-washed hues are very much in line with Pantone’s Spring 2014 Fashion Color Report.lining

Honey Cowl – Complete

This project, like so many of my knits, started with the yarn. Because I am so inspired by color and texture, I rarely have more than a general idea of what I want to knit before I get my clutches on a beautiful skein (or two). Once I fall for a yarn, the details fall into place.

Plaid Blanket - Tosh Vintage

And so this is how my Honey Cowl came to be. After a trip to one of my favorite yarn stores, I became enamored with Tosh VintageThe 100% merino wool is luxuriously soft, squishy, and knits up rather nicely. There were so many beautiful colorways to choose from, but “Plaid Blanket” stood thanks to its quirky, variegated forest hues. It also perfectly complemented my favorite puffy vest! Done deal.

*I should note that my husband, mother, and sister waited patiently for an hour for me to decide on a color. So, admittedly “done deal” is used rather generously here.

After some more deliberating, I chose a Madelinetosh pattern – the Honey Cowl. The honeycomb-esque texture of the finished product adds warmth and interest to what could have been just a plain infinity scarf. Like so many before me, I totally fell in love with this pattern, and so now I want to make a small army of them.vest scarf right side wrong side selfie

Right side, wrong side. Whateves! Both sides are absolutely stunning. I made plenty of mistakes along the way, especially in the beginning, but the pattern is incredibly forgiving. Once I got the hang of it, it was smooth sailing. I have totally forgotten how many stitches I cast-on, but the finished scarf measures 8.5″ wide and 43″ in circumference. I used approximately 1.75 skeins to keep it from getting too terribly bulky.

<– Shameless selfie.

 

Basic Geometry

Recently, I became painfully aware that my reusable shopping bags do not match my winter coats. Those crinkled, off-white cloth bags – while ever useful – clash horrendously with tailored black wool. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a DIY solution – the triangle bag. With basic geometry and some imagination, you can turn a simple fabric rectangle into a cheap and oh, so chic tote of your dreams!

I recommend using Between the Lines‘s tutorial, the original source of my inspiration. I put a personal spin on the directions by doubling the height and sewing a tube (18″ x 54″) for added durability. Once complete, my tote measured approximately 24″ x 20.5″. Like I said, it’s roomy. For the finishing touches, I wrapped the handle in charcoal wool and slipped on an antique gold ring for visual interest. Double bonus: I can add charms later!

triangle bag on floorwool wrapped handlelinen close up

While I love the black, pinstriped linen, it was the colorful raw edge that really won me over. It’s perfectly imperfect and brings a hint of color to my dark winter wardrobe.

I’ve already taken her out for a spin and was wholly satisfied. A simple project with big impact… I will certainly be making more of these in the future. Summer farmers’ markets, anyone?triangle bag on door vert

Wurm by Katharina Nopp

Yesterday, it was 75 degrees in East Tennessee. And here I thought it was December… Instead of indulging in cozy sweaters, I’ve been reduced to daydreaming of flurries and all the handmade knits I desperately want to wear. Still, in the face of unseasonal weather, I’d like to share one of my favorite knits of all time. *Drumroll* May I present, Wurm by Katharina Nopp.wurm profile

I finished my beloved wurm hat when I was still living in Chicago. Those grad school days were long and stressful, and knitting this quirky hat was a fun way to unwind. In the future, I’d love to experiment with color to play up the shape of the pattern.wurm wurm stand up 1 wurm rolls

We’ve had lots of adventures together, most notably Snowpocalyse 2011. You might know this epic blizzard by another name, such as Snowmaggedon, Snowzilla, or, my personal favorite, snOMG. I think you get the point – there was a lot of snow.

The day after the storm had passed, I took the opportunity to run out onto frozen Lake Michigan. As the sun set over my beautiful, snowed-in city, I stole a great photo of the skyline from atop a frozen wave. In the other direction, it was iced-over lake as far as the eye could seechicago skyline snowpocalypse lake michigan snowpocalypse

Danielle’s Wedding Flip-Flops

When my friend Danielle asked me to help her decorate plain sandals for her destination wedding next month, I was honored and totally ready for the challenge. The task at hand was to transform classic Old Navy flip-flops into a comfy, but bridal-worthy reception shoe. Her dress is totally perfect for a December beach wedding, and she needed something that complimented her frothy layers and delicate embroidery.detail B&W

So, after some lunch and a trip to AC Moore, we armed ourselves with a glue gun and jumped right in. She’s thrilled with the results, and so I couldn’t be happier.

#NailedIt

notions 2

Danielle reasoned that white or off white shoes could look dingy by the end of the night, so she opted for a soft brown that has a slight mauve hue. I’m so glad that she dared to be different since the color acts like a background for the pretty ribbons that we added. I doubt that we could have had as much impact with a more traditional bridal shoe color.finished

For those interested… we started by hot gluing the beaded trim on the bottom of the shoe. We began on the inside edge and kept gluing all the way around. The trim lined up nicely both times and only overlapped by 1/4 of an inch.trim 1

Once both shoes were dry, we tacked the cream and champagne ribbon with hot glue to the inside of the flip-flop strap and began wrapping. When finished, we secured the other side with more glue and let it sit.wrapping

Then, we tried out different places for the embellished flowers – which, by the way, are actually scrapbook stickers. When Danielle was satisfied, we hot glued (notice a trend here?) the flower directly onto the ribbon.

I fully understand wedding DIY, but sometimes going cheap can venture into tackyland. I might be bragging, but you’d never guess that these chic flip-flops cost a whopping $8 including supplies. But this is more than a DIY victory. Danielle is going to be down-right stunning on her special day, and I am happy that I got to contribute.

detail

Nuts & Bolts

It’s early yet, but I wanted to make my sis a necklace that had some holiday flair. You know, something dark and luxe that would look good with cozy sweaters AND party dresses. I wasn’t envisioning anything in particular, until I discovered these gems.toggle

Talk about hardware! This toggle set is way too pretty to be hidden in the back, so I decided to make it the center piece.DIY tassel necklace

I loved the idea of combining a deep forest green with black to offset the gleaming gold of the toggle. The trendy color combination pops against a cream and adds some visual interest to a basic noir. Oh, and Kendall loves green. Bonus points!houndstooth sweater with DIY tassel necklacecashmere sweater with DIY tassel necklace

I can’t stop making tassels. Seriously. Is it really a problem though?DIY nut bolt tassel necklace

I’ll be packing this DIY creation up and shipping it off to Chicago, but I’m thinking of making one for myself. Have any color scheme ideas?

A Charmed Life

Two weeks ago, I started tinkering around with beads and some embroidery floss. I wasn’t thrilled with the result, so I put the project away for a bit. We have been very busy lately and taking a break seemed to be the natural and wise thing to do.

I revisited the unfinished necklace this weekend with renewed creative spirit, and much to my surprise, it didn’t need much work at all. In fact, all I did was swap out a small charm for a giant tassel. Et voila!

Tree close Necklace on Rail Clasp Close Up

Tassel & Charm DetailThe necklace consists of three tassels of various sizes and textures, purple and grey seed beads, a light gold spike charm, and an embellished gold charm. All of the pieces are pulled together by the blue-grey thread for an eclectic but muted look. I can’t wait to layer this with other long gold chains!

Oh! It turns out, this necklace is incredibly soft. Who would have thought?

The Big Costume Reveal

After weeks of deliberation, I have finally decided on my Halloween costume. This is no trivial matter, mind you, as I take this holiday very seriously. Out of many excellent possibilities, I have chosen to revisit one of my favorite childhood costumes:

Grey-Eyed Athena. Minerva.
Ancient goddess of wisdom, arts and crafts, and strategic warfare.

I have always found Athena to be absolutely fascinating and visually stunning. Born from Zeus’s head fully clad in armor, she was both feminine and masculine, nurturing and destructive. Artisans throughout the centuries have been inspired by Pallas Athene, depicting her in paintings and statuary in all her terrible glory. The goddess, even when adorned in beautiful woven robes, bears the head of Medusa on her aegis. In other words, she’s a total badass.athene

For my costume, I have chosen a non-traditional color scheme of gold and navy in a variety of textures. The light and airy navy (with a subtle black dot) will make up the tunic, while the gold solid will be draped from one shoulder and gathered in some fashion.

bundled jacquardI fell for the stunning gold and silver jacquard fabric in the store and couldn’t leave without it. The raised bumps reminded me of hammered metal, but it still was beautiful enough for a goddess. I’m thinking it will be perfect for a breastplate, which no Athena costume should be without. I am hoping to add some quilting and beadwork to the armor to give it even more depth.

As I construct this year’s costume, I will share updates on my progress. Have you decided on a Halloween costume yet?

Put a Bow On It

Sometimes you gotta roll with the punches… make lemonade when life hands you lemons… keep calm and carry on. What I’m trying to say is that sometimes DIY goes madly awry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “game over” for your project. In fact, deviating from your original plan – or scrapping it entirely – can yield stunning results.

Bow full

Long story short, I put a not-so-small hole in this sweater. Like, front and center… which is a problem since I had set out to embellish the front of my cardigan with heavy beads and buttons.  Instead of a DIY pièce de résistance, I had an unraveling mess on my hands. Y I K E S.

At moments like these, I put my project down and walk away. Taking a break gives me time to think through my options, say a bunch of swear words, and reboot. I weighed the pros and cons of several ideas over a cup of coffee, but ultimately decided on the simplest fix: put a bow on it. A BIG ONE.

folded 2

So, that’s how this bow-bedecked cardi came to be.

Button Row 2I switched out the plain buttons for shiny (plastic) gold ones and placed a small silver-lined bead in the center for added interest. Much to my surprise, the buttons actually sparkle as they catch the light!

I fashioned a large bow out of black and white grosgrain ribbon and sewed it onto the collar. The bow not only hid the hole (which has been patched), but transformed a basic cardigan into something wonderfully chic.

While disappointed my original project never came to be, I am thrilled with what I made in the end. This cardi will transition from work to weekend seamlessly, and because the details are timeless, it will work with any season.

Here, I have paired my newest creation with an emerald blouse (Pantone’s color of the year!) and my favorite pair of denim. Throw on some black ballet flats and I’m ready for Sunday afternoon.

tryoutEmerald sleeveless blouse (Joe Fresh, $14)
Dark wash skinny-straight denim (Level 99, $130)
Heather grey 3/4 sleeve cardigan (Merona, $13) + Folklore DIY bow and buttons